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A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. Its beauty comes from the fact that the author is what he is. It has nothing to do with the fact that other people want what they want.
The public has always, and in every age, been badly brought up. They are continually asking Art to be popular, to please their want of taste, to flatter their absurd vanity, to tell them what they have been told before, to show them what they ought to be tired of seeing, to amuse them when they feel heavy after eating too much, and to distract their thoughts when they are wearied of their own stupidity. Now Art should never try to be popular. The public should try to make itself artistic. There is a very wide difference.
They are always asking a writer why he does not write like somebody else, or a painter why he does not paint like somebody else, quite oblivious of the fact that if either of them did anything of the kind he would cease to be an artist.
If a man approaches a work of art with any desire to exercise authority over it and the artist, he approaches it in such a spirit that he cannot receive any artistic impression from it at all. The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art. The spectator is to be receptive. He is to be the violin on which the master is to play. And the more completely he can suppress his own silly views, his own foolish prejudices, his own absurd ideas of what Art should be, or should not be, the more likely he is to understand and appreciate the work of art in question.
The For-itself, in fact, is nothing but the pure nihilation of the In-itself; it is like a hole of being at the heart of Being.
Remember, Orestes: you were part of my herd, you grazed in the fields along with my sheep. Your liberty is nothing but a mange eating away at you, it is nothing but an exile.
We were too light, Electra. Now our feet press down in the earth like the wheels of a cart in its groove. Come with me, and we will walk heavily, bending under the weight of our heavy load.
Man cannot will unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
Your crystal? That’s silly. Whom do you think you are fooling? Come on, everyone knows that I threw the baby out of the window. The crystal is shattered on earth, and I do not care. I am no longer anything but a skin, and my skin does not belong to you.
As for me, I am mean: that means that I need the suffering of others to exist. A flame. A flame in their hearts. When I am all alone, I am extinguished.
What do you want to do with the [Communist] Party? A racing stable? What good is it to sharpen a knife every day if you never use it for slicing? A party is never more than a means. There is only one objective: power.
The [Communist] Party has one objective: the creation of a socialist economy; and one means: the utilization of the class struggle.
Lord, you have cursed Cain and Cain’s children: thy will be done. You have allowed men’s hearts to be corrupted, that their intentions be rotten, that their actions putrefy and stink: thy will be done.
Yes, Lord, you are innocence itself: how could you conceive of Nothingness, you who are plenitude? Your gaze is light and transforms all into light: how could you know the half-light in my heart?
I have nothing but contempt for you idiotic chosen ones who have the heart to rejoice when there are the damned in Hell and the poor on earth; as for me, I am on the side of men and I will not leave it.
Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.
Cartesian, adj. Relating to , a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, Cogito ergo sum -- whereby he was pleased to suppose he demonstrated the reality of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus: Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum -- "I think that I think, therefore I think that I am;" as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.
Land, n. A part of the earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure. Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own implies the right exclusively to occupy; and in fact laws of trespass are enacted wherever property in land is recognized. It follows that if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B and C, there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist.
Laughter, n. An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features and accompanied by inarticulate noises. It is infectious and, though intermittent, incurable.
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